CommBank missed 'golden opportunity' by rejecting Sportsbet: Experts

Branding experts have chastised Commonwealth Bank for not taking part in a can-can dance-off challenge issued by Sportsbet yesterday, saying the brand has missed an opportunity to show its human side.

Yesterday, Sportsbet challenged CommBank to the dance-off in full page ads in national newspapers. The betting company also sent can-can dancers to perform the dance outside a Commonwealth Bank in Melbourne. Sportsbet said the loser of the competition would have to pay $50,000 to a charity chosen by the winner.

CommBank has said it will not take part in a dance-off.

Branding experts have argued the bank has missed out on an opportunity to connect with consumers, particularly in the light of the positivity of its new 'Can' campaign.

Hausman Group's group general manager Katrina Brangwin told AdNews: “It feels like this was a golden opportunity for Commonwealth Bank to differentiate itself from the other banks. This was an opportunity to show a human side.

“In the current climate of bank bashing, this would sit positively with consumers, and would reflect the positivity the bank is trying to put out with its new campaign. This is an opportunity missed, and they could have turned this into a win-win situation.”

Meanwhile, The General Store strategy partner Paul Southgate said: “This was an opportunity missed for the bank to show its human side. On the other hand, the thought of bankers doing the can-can is too horrible to contemplate. So it could have backfired.”

Speaking with AdNews yesterday, Sportsbet's marketing boss Barni Evans said he was still hoping CommBank would accept the challenge, despite the fact the bank has said it will not.

“This is really a call to the bank to recognise the opportunity to live and breathe its brand values.”

However, in a statement yesterday, CommBank pointed out the range of charitable activity it undertakes, and called on Sportsbet to match its donations.

Yesterday's challenge came after some conflict last month, when CommBank demanded Sportsbet remove a spoof ad from its social media pages. Sportsbet's 'Ode to Punt' spoof was a send-up of CommBank's 'Ode to Can' campaign featuring Toni Collette.

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